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Asbestos contaminated land remediation for brownfield sites

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Asbestos contaminated land remediation services are increasingly in demand as developers and local authorities look to exploit brownfield sites for housing.

As asbestos was a widely used construction material for many years and waste disposal procedures haven’t always been as tight as they are today, it should be no surprise that many sites have soil contaminated with asbestos insulation, cement or coatings.

The sites of former mines, factories and steelworks are particularly likely to have asbestos contamination, but the material was also used in flats, schools and office buildings, so any brownfield site is at risk.

This can pose a real problem for landowners who wish to build on contaminated land, as work can be delayed until it has been returned to a non-hazardous status. Similarly, the value and saleability of land will be adversely affected by the presence of asbestos.

Is your brownfield site contaminated?

From time to time, local councils carry out land inspections and their testing may reveal the presence of asbestos in the soil. If this happens, the council or the Environment Agency may serve a remediation notice requiring either the landowner or occupier to clean it up.

Even if there is no record of asbestos at a brownfield site, you are still likely to have to test for it before you can build on the land. The council may require it as part of the planning conditions, while the Health and Safety Executive describes sampling soil before digging on a brownfield site as “good practice”.

If the sampling identifies the presence of asbestos in the soil, more extensive testing will be required to determine the extent of the problem and to design a suitable remediation plan.

It is not unknown for the sampling to come back clear, only for suspicious materials to be uncovered after the excavation begins. If this happens, work will need to be halted while further investigation takes place.

How can BLS Asbestos help?

At BLS Asbestos, we have significant experience in the remediation of asbestos contaminated land, having worked on a range of projects including the clearance of a colliery site and the preparation of brownfield sites for new building work.

Our teams will ensure the remediation work is carried out in line with all relevant regulations, using the most appropriate, safe and cost-effective approach for the needs of the specific site.

This may involve the removal of large amounts of soil and the disposal of it in landfill as hazardous waste, but there are less expensive options such as capping, soil washing or screening that are just as effective in many cases.

Processes that involve the segregation of asbestos containing materials allow the soil classification to be downgraded to non-hazardous, while also reducing the volume of soil sent to landfill. This typically results in significant cost savings compared to simply disposing of the soil.

For more information about our asbestos contaminated land services or to request a quote, please call 01484 400558 or contact us via the website.


Published: 29th January 2016